zoomee

Express 34 hits submerged object, now what?

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Stopped us dead from 5kts.  Ding in the keel, crack in the hull, forward bulkhead and cabin sole.  Boat was in the water for a couple weeks post hit, no water in the bilges.  I can fix the keel, no lead was damaged just skin so that is a patch up & fair.  The damage to the hull is another matter.  I know these boats were very well constructed but it is also 30 years old.  My thought is to open up the hull crack to expose underlying structure, then call in a surveyor to assess and recommend repairs.  Suggestions of a knowlegable person in the VA Bay area?   Other ideas?

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Ouch.  Fixable, but won't be cheap.  With the exterior damage showing that much, surprised you didn't haul immediately.

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21 minutes ago, Movable Ballast said:

How much is the boat worth?

Could be a total loss with that kind of major structural damage.

 

unfortunately agree here. Insured?

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Worth $30K I guess, only liability insurance so no help there.

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The problem is that you don't know how much of the grid and keel stub has delaminated.  The only way to find out is to grind it out.  I think you are looking at a total grid and keel stub replacement - I have had this kind of damage on my boat twice and in each case that was the solution.  Fortunately the boat was insured and the insurance covered it.  Last time it happened a reputable yard charge $12K CAD for the repair.  I observed what they did closely as I took advantage of the boat being out of the water to strip the hull and repaint.  It was worth it.  Not a DIY job unfortunately - I'm pretty good at glass and epoxy and it was way beyond my ability.

There really is no option here, because if delamination is allowed to remain, you will always wonder if your keel is going to part ways with the boat in a big sea.  There are a number of documented keel losses due to insufficient grounding repairs.  Some were fatal.  Don't chance it.

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17 minutes ago, dash34 said:

The problem is that you don't know how much of the grid and keel stub has delaminated.  The only way to find out is to grind it out.  I think you are looking at a total grid and keel stub replacement - I have had this kind of damage on my boat twice and in each case that was the solution.  Fortunately the boat was insured and the insurance covered it.  Last time it happened a reputable yard charge $12K CAD for the repair.  I observed what they did closely as I took advantage of the boat being out of the water to strip the hull and repaint.  It was worth it.  Not a DIY job unfortunately - I'm pretty good at glass and epoxy and it was way beyond my ability.

There really is no option here, because if delamination is allowed to remain, you will always wonder if your keel is going to part ways with the boat in a big sea.  There are a number of documented keel losses due to insufficient grounding repairs.  Some were fatal.  Don't chance it.

yep

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26 minutes ago, dash34 said:

The problem is that you don't know how much of the grid and keel stub has delaminated.  The only way to find out is to grind it out.  I think you are looking at a total grid and keel stub replacement - I have had this kind of damage on my boat twice and in each case that was the solution.  Fortunately the boat was insured and the insurance covered it.  Last time it happened a reputable yard charge $12K CAD for the repair.  I observed what they did closely as I took advantage of the boat being out of the water to strip the hull and repaint.  It was worth it.  Not a DIY job unfortunately - I'm pretty good at glass and epoxy and it was way beyond my ability.

There really is no option here, because if delamination is allowed to remain, you will always wonder if your keel is going to part ways with the boat in a big sea.  There are a number of documented keel losses due to insufficient grounding repairs.  Some were fatal.  Don't chance it.

Thanks for the numbers and sound advice.  

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6 minutes ago, zoomee said:

Thanks for the numbers and sound advice.  

I feel your pain.  An Express 34 is a boat worth saving, hope it can happen.  

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   Very fixable - but you need a good glass worker. You'll have damage to the front (pulled downward) and damage at the back (pushed up). From the pics, front end took most of force. Any visible cracks in gelcoat/paint will have to be ground out to determine if there is structural damage underneath. The mid sections look OK in pics, but serious investigation needed anyway.

    You need a glass guy that understands damage assesment & how to lay out strand orientation for the repair cloth. Don't use someone who only knows 24 oz cloth in heaps of layers. The grinding is low skill, dirty labor, and kmake sure the rest of the interior is extremly well sealed off.

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As long suggests, grinding is low-skill & dirty.  Maybe you can reduce costs by doing that part yourself.  Just make sure the hull is well supported - you don't want to grind the keel off the boat and find out there's nothing holding the hull up.  Makes fairing in the repair a tad difficult. 

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8 hours ago, dash34 said:

I think you are looking at a total grid and keel stub replacement

I think that's overkill. Fix what is damaged. There is nothing showing in the middle floors. Sure, tap test the bonds of the middle floors but 5 knots isn't that high a speed, and Express boats are known to be built very well.

It sort of looks like bondo on the leading edge of the keel, fwd!

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12 minutes ago, Zonker said:

I think that's overkill. Fix what is damaged. There is nothing showing in the middle floors. Sure, tap test the bonds of the middle floors but 5 knots isn't that high a speed, and Express boats are known to be built very well.

It sort of looks like bondo on the leading edge of the keel, fwd!

I have this desrciption of the hull construction from here

https://www.practical-sailor.com/issues/27_7/features/4516-1.html  

According to Schumacher, the Express 34’s “outer laminate consists of 3/4-ounce mat, two layers of 18-ounce co-fab, and 3/4-ounce mat bonded to 3/4-inch thick end-grain balsa, with 18-ounce co-fab on the inside.

 

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18 minutes ago, See Level said:

It looks like the same damage has been repaired once already.

What makes you think so?   I noticed some of the finish work in the forward grid looks below the standards of the original work, some unbonded loose edges.  

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5 knot grounding should not be such a big deal.

Check current ISO recreational yacht guidelines.....e.g. ~ 10 knot grounding speed for offshore boats, etc.

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5 hours ago, Frogman56 said:

5 knot grounding should not be such a big deal.

Check current ISO recreational yacht guidelines.....e.g. ~ 10 knot grounding speed for offshore boats, etc.

While I agree that a sailing boat should handle 5 knots, at the same time it is not as easy. THings may differ, considerably.

There are two major aspects to keep in mind:

1) kinetic energy goes as m*v**2, doubling speed gives 4 times the kinetic energy and that has to be disippated somehow / somewhere. 

2) F = m * a, where a is the de-acceleration, ie d(v)/dt. An immediate stop, going from 5 knots to 0 in a fraction of a second - that will have grave consequences. Some way to extend the time for de-acceleration is worth much. A soft hull extend the time resulting in low forces - a inflatable is a good example. Now, of course, racing means a rigid hull ... 

When looking at boats which has grounded it is clear that there are huge differences. 

 

Wrt the damage I agree with Zonk. As so often, he seems to know very well what he is talking about. I would certainly do some investigations myself. at least to start with. Having a yard to fix it will cost, that is for sure - and my experience of yards are not the best to put it mildly. 

//J

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Am

13 hours ago, zoomee said:

I have this desrciption of the hull construction from here

https://www.practical-sailor.com/issues/27_7/features/4516-1.html  

According to Schumacher, the Express 34’s “outer laminate consists of 3/4-ounce mat, two layers of 18-ounce co-fab, and 3/4-ounce mat bonded to 3/4-inch thick end-grain balsa, with 18-ounce co-fab on the inside.

 

So is that balsa core I am seeing?  Isn't that now saturated from sitting in the water?

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I'd have to agree, 5knts is not going all that fast to cause that much damage, it looks like 1/8th" or so of bondo at the leading edge. Lot's of grinding just to get beyond the past repair and back to the original damage. The bilge damage would suggest that the laminate is fully compromised. You'll need to grind from the bilge as well to build up that structure as well...

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6 hours ago, Frogman56 said:

5 knot grounding should not be such a big deal.

Check current ISO recreational yacht guidelines.....e.g. ~ 10 knot grounding speed for offshore boats, etc.

i would think grounding and hitting an object are two different things..   I watched a snipe the other day hit a submerge log, did a nose up with the stern 2 ft out of the water and come to a dead stop...

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34 minutes ago, sail69 said:

Am

So is that balsa core I am seeing?  Isn't that now saturated from sitting in the water?

The article says balsa was used in Hull #1.  Olson Yachts ran into financial difficulties and the tooling was picked up by Ericson who claim solid glass.

From looking at the photo, and given the pinkish colour and era of construction, I am thinking Klegecell.  Also, in the second photo there looks like there is some pink foam fragments  in the bilge area between the floors.

But it would be an unusual place to put foam.

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1 minute ago, 12 metre said:

The article says balsa was used in Hull #1.  Olson Yachts ran into financial difficulties and the tooling was picked up by Ericson who claim solid glass.

From looking at the photo, and given the colour and era of construction, I am thinking Klegecell.  But it would be an unusual place to put foam.

That part of the article is talking about the Olson 34, we are talking about an Express 34.  I think 27 E34s were built by Alsberg Bros before production stopped in 1988.

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7 minutes ago, zoomee said:

That part of the article is talking about the Olson 34, we are talking about an Express 34.  I think 27 E34s were built by Alsberg Bros before production stopped in 1988.

Yes, they were discussing 3 different boats in the article and I guess I lost track.

Nevertheless, still looks like Klegecell to me.

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1 minute ago, 12 metre said:

Yes, they were discussing 3 different boats in the article and I guess I lost track.

Nevertheless, still looks like Klegecell to me.

Yeah..it is a pretty pink huh.  The hull crack is at the mast step/keel junction of an offshore boat, if anywhere is going to be beefy it will be here.  This weekend I hope to cut away the cracked hull material and examine below.  Any suggestions of how to cut this away?  Grinder or skill saw set to 1/8 in.

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14 hours ago, zoomee said:

I have this desrciption of the hull construction from here

https://www.practical-sailor.com/issues/27_7/features/4516-1.html  

According to Schumacher, the Express 34’s “outer laminate consists of 3/4-ounce mat, two layers of 18-ounce co-fab, and 3/4-ounce mat bonded to 3/4-inch thick end-grain balsa, with 18-ounce co-fab on the inside.

 

I have more Express building info here:

http://www.phred.org/~alex/ExpressConstructionMethods.pdf

This paper seems to be from when the Express 37 first came out and might predate the Express 34, but I bet the construction methods are pretty similar between the two boats.

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18 minutes ago, Alex W said:

I have more Express building info here:

http://www.phred.org/~alex/ExpressConstructionMethods.pdf

This paper seems to be from when the Express 37 first came out and might predate the Express 34, but I bet the construction methods are pretty similar between the two boats.

Thanks, very helpful.  My understanding is that the 37 and 34 were built with same methods & schedules.

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When you ground hard, the lever action of the keel pulls the front of the keel away from the hull and kicks the aft up into the hull. 

Often the damage near the front is more obvious in your case but the kicking up action at the aft of the keel can 'pop' the keel grid from the hull without it being too noticeable.

Dash34 was spot on about death by previously grounded keels. You need to do a thorough investigation of where there MAY be damage.

Its a pain but you should really drop the keel first. Then using a flap wheel on an angle grinder, grind away all pain and fairing around the front and back ends of the keel on the exterior. On the interior, a similar process, start around the aft couple of keel frames. Grind away all paint and then look to see if the tabbing covers over more than one frame. If it wraps over multiple frames, grind this away until you get to the tabbing for each frame. You are looking for cuts or torn tabbing and the keel grid lifting from the hull. The upper layers of tabbing can hide this. 

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12 minutes ago, Soley said:

When you ground hard, the lever action of the keel pulls the front of the keel away from the hull and kicks the aft up into the hull. 

Often the damage near the front is more obvious in your case but the kicking up action at the aft of the keel can 'pop' the keel grid from the hull without it being too noticeable.

Dash34 was spot on about death by previously grounded keels. You need to do a thorough investigation of where there MAY be damage.

Its a pain but you should really drop the keel first. Then using a flap wheel on an angle grinder, grind away all pain and fairing around the front and back ends of the keel on the exterior. On the interior, a similar process, start around the aft couple of keel frames. Grind away all paint and then look to see if the tabbing covers over more than one frame. If it wraps over multiple frames, grind this away until you get to the tabbing for each frame. You are looking for cuts or torn tabbing and the keel grid lifting from the hull. The upper layers of tabbing can hide this. 

Six inches around the aft keel frame crack pictured has for sure broken, dull thud.  The rest of the frames give a nice sharp ping.  Sadly I have a good example of what to look & listen for!  

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I had a similar hit but with a rock, while motoring about 5kts.  Boat is 1991 CS34 (solid glass below waterline).   That was a $26k repair at a Brewer yard in CT.  Keel off and I didn't have the hull cracking you seem to.  Lots of grid and furniture damage inside.

Get it done right or every time the boat heels you'll wonder.....

 

--Kevin  

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18 hours ago, zoomee said:

What makes you think so?   I noticed some of the finish work in the forward grid looks below the standards of the original work, some unbonded loose edges.  

It looks like west filler on the bottom shot, peeling away from substrate, I doubt they had that much filler to fair the bottom.

As you said there is also evidence of glass work in the sump, including grey gel coat splashed on the hoses and wires as well as grinder marks under gel coat. And filler on the keep in roughly the same spot you hit

 

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5 hours ago, 12 metre said:

From looking at the photo, and given the pinkish colour and era of construction, I am thinking Klegecell

I don't think so.

- The outer skin isn't thick enough that you are seeing core. If the basic laminate is 2 x 3/4 oz mat + 2 x 1808, then nominal thickness = 0.14" [3.5mm] - but in way of the keel you'd expect it to have a few extra layers. I'm sticking to my bondo guess.

- Klegecell that I am familiar with is more of a reddish brown not pink but it could come in different colors I guess

- boat was cored with Balsa according to PS article!

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40 minutes ago, Zonker said:

I don't think so.

- The outer skin isn't thick enough that you are seeing core. If the basic laminate is 2 x 3/4 oz mat + 2 x 1808, then nominal thickness = 0.14" [3.5mm] - but in way of the keel you'd expect it to have a few extra layers. I'm sticking to my bondo guess.

- Klegecell that I am familiar with is more of a reddish brown not pink but it could come in different colors I guess

- boat was cored with Balsa according to PS article!

Yes, the PS article says balsa.  But as Zoomie pointed out, the PS article says that is the Olson 34 that is balsa.

The Express 37 link posted by AlexW mentions PVC and balsa and apparently the 34 is similarly built.  Although it doesn't specifically say the 37 uses PVC, I cannot reason why they would mention the merits ofPVC unless it was used.

Agreed Klegecell is more of a salmon colour or reddish brown - but I have cut many wet pieces of klegecell out of a deck.  When sliced open they are a dark pink or red, but the dried out outer surface is much lighter in colour almost a whitish tint on the surface.  Actually, it looks like there are bits of foam in the bilge in the second photo - and those look pretty much identical in colour to the Klegecell core I pulled out of my last boat.

 

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13 hours ago, 12 metre said:

Yes, the PS article says balsa.  But as Zoomie pointed out, the PS article says that is the Olson 34 that is balsa.

The Express 37 link posted by AlexW mentions PVC and balsa and apparently the 34 is similarly built.  Although it doesn't specifically say the 37 uses PVC, I cannot reason why they would mention the merits ofPVC unless it was used.

Agreed Klegecell is more of a salmon colour or reddish brown - but I have cut many wet pieces of klegecell out of a deck.  When sliced open they are a dark pink or red, but the dried out outer surface is much lighter in colour almost a whitish tint on the surface.  Actually, it looks like there are bits of foam in the bilge in the second photo - and those look pretty much identical in colour to the Klegecell core I pulled out of my last boat.

 

 

6 hours ago, Zonker said:

Well a close up photo could solve this....

I'll get back to her soon and solve the mystery.  Wouldn't this be a transition area between sandwich of the normal hull and solid for the keel stub?  That might explain the filler.  

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16 hours ago, 12 metre said:

Yes, the PS article says balsa.  But as Zoomie pointed out, the PS article says that is the Olson 34 that is balsa.

The Express 37 link posted by AlexW mentions PVC and balsa and apparently the 34 is similarly built.  Although it doesn't specifically say the 37 uses PVC, I cannot reason why they would mention the merits ofPVC unless it was used.

Agreed Klegecell is more of a salmon colour or reddish brown - but I have cut many wet pieces of klegecell out of a deck.  When sliced open they are a dark pink or red, but the dried out outer surface is much lighter in colour almost a whitish tint on the surface.

FWIW, My Express 37 Hull was balsa. 

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Mine is also balsa (at least the transom is, I haven't drilled any holes in the bottom of the hull).

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Normally you just taper out the core. No need for filler.

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So,  I was wrong.   Almost certainly not Klegecell based on the info posted so far.

A bit surprised they would have used cored construction in that part of the hull.  All of my boats have been light weights of cored construction with  18" - 24" of solid glass along the centreline from bow to stern.  Yes tapered core where the two meet up.

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I owned a late model Express 37.  That boat was beautifully constructed, better than any boat I've owned before or since.  Hull and deck were both balsa cored.  Fortunate for me, the previous took good care of her and there were no delams or wetspots typically associated with older, balsa cored construction.

Looking at your photos, my first reaction is that you were going a heckofalot faster than 5 knots, but anything is possible.  These (Alsberg Brothers) boats are rare and, in my opinion, worth the effort to preserve.

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My family owned Express 34 Hull #1, and if I remember correctly that hull had a vacuum bagged vinylester laminate with a balsa core. 

The bilge sump was done really nicely as well, with an off white gel coat that was finished to a standard that made it look like it was a molded part.   

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I ran my Olson 30 aground and went from 5kts to 0kts in a few inches.  Similar damage to yours, but less cracking at hull.  The lead keel mushroomed on impact at the bottom, but it pivoted separating at the leading edge and pushing up the back end.  All the stringers gave a dull thump and everything needed to be re-tabbed.

You will likely need to grind out the stringers and replace along with fix the keel.   Cost for my repairs was C$12K in 2011 and that was after getting quotes up to C$18K+.  I had insurance, which was a good thing since Olson 30s were trading at about $10K at the time...

This is something you want done right. 

And remember, it's not whether or not you'll hit a rock, it's just a matter of time...

 

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Did the same to my Express 37 at 5.75 knots.  No visible water intrusion, got a diver several days later and was told to get her out of the water.  $25,000+ later all was okay but it was a big deal.

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On 11/13/2018 at 11:42 AM, 12 metre said:

The article says balsa was used in Hull #1.  Olson Yachts ran into financial difficulties and the tooling was picked up by Ericson who claim solid glass.

From looking at the photo, and given the pinkish colour and era of construction, I am thinking Klegecell.  Also, in the second photo there looks like there is some pink foam fragments  in the bilge area between the floors.

But it would be an unusual place to put foam.

i think that is just thick fairing putty. if it was klegecell (what was brown when i was putting it in boats 25 years ago) the keel would have come off as the rest of the schedule in that area is only an 1808...... even though you would expect more. hell, i would expect it to be about 18mm to 25mm solid laminate

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